Professor, astronaut from Oregon invent zero-gravity coffee cup

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by Teresa Blackman, KGW.com

KING5.com

Posted on August 14, 2013 at 12:11 PM

PORTLAND -- A Portland State University professor along with astronaut Don Pettit of Silverton, Ore., and two mathematicians have developed a zero-gravity coffee cup.

“The low-g cup exploits an interior corner, which combined with favorable wetting, lets surface tension replace the role of gravity so you can kind of drink normally,” said PSU mechanical engineering professor Mark Weislogel. “It’s pretty simple. Works well for champagne too.”

Pettit has tested the product in space. NASA will be using the cup during future space explorations.

Students at PSU's Maseeh School of Engineering recently completed a 40-day, non-stop series of experiments with ISS crews on fluid systems of spacecraft.

More: NASA video of Pettit testing zero-gravity coffee cup

Weislogel and Pettit now hold a patent for the zero-g cup, along with mathematicians Paul Concus of the University of California, Berkeley and Robert Finn of Stanford.

Pettit, a Silverton, Ore. native, has logged more than 370 days in space during two long-term missions aboard the International Space Station.

He was also awarded NASA Engineer of the Year by the National Society of Professional Engineers/Professional Engineers in Government this year.

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